Andrea Romstorfer


Andrea Romstorfer studied History at the University of Vienna, with special focus on Eastern European History. In her master’s thesis she applied the method of Oral History to discuss the phenomenon of transnational identities among the Serbian community in Vienna. Therefore, she interviewed representatives of the first generation of the so called “Gastarbeiter*innen” from the former “Socijalistička Republika Srbija” (as part of the “Socijalistička Federativna Republika Jugoslavija”/SFRJ). Title of diploma: “Transnationale Identitäten der serbischen community in Wien seit 1945“ (Master’s thesis, University of Vienna 2011), advised by Prof. Dr. Horst Haselsteiner.
She is fellow of the Doctoral School of Historical and Cultural Studies with emphasis on “State, Politics, Governance in Historical Perspective” and participates in the research network “Code4Research” ( as well as at the interdisciplinary FSP "Digital Humanities" ( at the University of Vienna.

Research interests: Nationalism theory, cultural memory studies, methods of historiography and interdisciplinary scientific interchange, discourse theory, digital humanities, contemporary and latest history.

Current research project:  „Erinnerungsmilieus im Rechtspopulismus. Eine computergestützte Diskursanalyse rechtspopulistischer Parteiprogramme aus Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz.“
The central issues of the dissertation are cultures of remembrance within the political discourse as well as the experimental design of a computerised analysis tool. Within a selection of primary sources (party and election programmes), from four right-wing populist parties, the evaluation of their statements was integrated into a database workflow. The core questions focus on the impact of commemorative patterns, or even knowledge about history, on the identification modes which the chosen parties offer. The first approach is to explore if the perception of the positive in-groups, in regard to the negative out-groups, includes references to the past. The second emphasis lies on rhetoric realisation of membership by distinctive characteristics. According to Pierre Bourdieu, a group recognizes its members along intrinsic features and separates itself from others by the same process (internalised structure of perception). A specific stock of knowledge might be such a tangible criterion. Therefore, the key thesis states that a group, in this case it’s a political spectrum, can be identified by their relation to the past. Will the chosen parties emphasize similar past episodes or epochs to strengthen their definition of “we” and the “others”? Moreover, this analysis asks if the parties continue a nationalistic tradition of Europe’s 20th century. To work on the instructing assertions interdisciplinary research is required. This includes the “discourse historical method” by Ruth Wodak, Pierre Bourdieu’s theory of “Habitus” as well as seminal works about collective memories, like Maurice Halbwachs, Aleida and Jan Assmann, Harald Welzer or Elena Esposita. Based on this, she designed an analysis process and implemented it into a relational database. This allows a consistent processual comparison of discursive data and improves the transparency towards all decisions that refer to the analysis and result findings. Further, the database ensures an intelligible illustration of the empirical data and gives comfortable access to the primary sources (source criticism).